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[mahylz] /maɪlz/

Nelson Appleton, 1839–1925, U.S. army officer.
a male given name: from a Germanic word meaning “merciful.”.
[mahyl] /maɪl/
Also called statute mile. a unit of distance on land in English-speaking countries equal to 5280 feet, or 1760 yards (1.609 kilometers).
any of various other units of distance or length at different periods and in different countries.
Compare .
a notable distance or margin:
missed the target by a mile.
Abbreviation: mi, mi.
Bernard, Baron Miles of Blackfriars. 1907–91, British actor and theatre manager. He founded the Mermaid Theatre in London, and was known as a character actor
Also called statute mile. a unit of length used in the UK, the US, and certain other countries, equal to 1760 yards. 1 mile is equivalent to 1.609 34 kilometres
See nautical mile
See Swedish mile
any of various units of length used at different times and places, esp the Roman mile, equivalent to 1620 yards
(often pl) (informal) a great distance; great deal: he missed by a mile
a race extending over a mile
miles, (intensifier): he likes his new job miles better

Old English mil, from West Germanic *milja (cf. Middle Dutch mile, Dutch mijl, Old High German mila, German meile), from Latin mila “thousands,” plural of mille “a thousand” (neuter plural was mistaken in Germanic as a fem. singular), of unknown origin.

The Latin word also is the source of French mille, Italian miglio, Spanish milla. The Scandinavian words (Old Norse mila, etc.) are from English. An ancient Roman mile was 1,000 double paces (one step with each foot), for about 4,860 feet, but there were many local variants and a modern statute mile is about 400 feet longer. In Germany, Holland, and Scandinavia in the Middle Ages, the Latin word was applied arbitrarily to the ancient Germanic rasta, a measure of from 3.25 to 6 English miles. Mile-a-minute (adj.) “very fast” is attested from 1957.

Related Terms

go the extra mile, stick out

(from Lat. mille, “a thousand;” Matt. 5:41), a Roman measure of 1,000 paces of 5 feet each. Thus the Roman mile has 1618 yards, being 142 yards shorter than the English mile.

In addition to the idioms beginning with mile
mile a minute, a


Read Also:

  • Miles and miles

    A considerable distance; also, a large interval, by far. For example, We drove for miles and miles before we saw a gas station, or She was miles and miles a better pianist than her brother: This usage was first recorded in 1889.

  • Milesian

    [mi-lee-zhuh n, -shuh n, mahy-] /mɪˈli ʒən, -ʃən, maɪ-/ adjective 1. of or relating to Miletus. 2. Philosophy. noting or pertaining to a school of philosophers of the late 7th to early 5th centuries b.c., including Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes, which was primarily concerned with the nature of matter and change. noun 3. a native […]

  • Miles to go before i sleep

    Words from the poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” by Robert Frost.

  • Milestone

    [mahyl-stohn] /ˈmaɪlˌstoʊn/ noun 1. a functioning as a milepost. 2. a significant event or stage in the life, progress, development, or the like of a person, nation, etc.: Her getting the job of supervisor was a milestone in her career. /ˈmaɪlˌstəʊn/ noun 1. a stone pillar that shows the distance in miles to or from […]

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